Comlex or Comlex +USMLE ...

Well I’m finally at that stage where I have to make a very important decision: Registering for boards… the stress and anxiety and all that comes with it.

I am a second year at at an osteopathic school, and I’m required to take the COMLEX; however I have the option of taking the USMLE as well to potentially have more options for residency. At this time, I’m very interested in Anesthesiology, and would love to get into a top notch program (who wouldn’t right? ). My dilemma lies in the question of whether the risk of taking the USMLE and possibly doing poorly outweighs the risk of taking the COMLEX alone. I’d love to hear advice as I know the ACGME has agreed to merge with AOA programs and hopefully this will lead to a more equal relationship between the 2 degrees. Do I have a shot at good academic programs these days with a good COMLEX score only? Thanks so much.

J. Miller -

You are a second year, so when you are applying for residency, it will be 2015. That is the year that all the residencies will be ACGME accredited and there will be one match. Having said that, don’t know WHICH test will be accepted in your application or if both will be accepted.

Currently , if you apply to an ACGME residency, you need to have the USMLE test. If you apply to a dually acredited or an AOA residency, COMLEX is fine.

For anesthesia, to keep your options open, I’d suggest taking both Step 1’s. If you prepare well for USMLE, and also do Savarese (the green book), memorize sympathetic innervation and chapman points and good extremity exams/special tests, you should be prepared for COMLEX. I’d maybe use COMBANK for questions prep for COMLEX.

You might run it past the Dean for post-doctoral education at your school and see what their take is on it.


anyone else have some input? I am respectfully cautious in assuming that i MUST have a USMLE score for an ACGME residency. I understand they’re going to see a majority of MD applicants but unless a D.O. has a USMLE out of the park, then it’s almost better to not have taken it at all…

seems like it can only hurt you if you don’t kill it